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  • Department of Communication
  • Development
  • Behavior
  • Communication
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Having studied motivation and goal pursuit across the fields of education, health and environmental sustainability, Neil Lewis, Jr., assistant professor of communication, has considerable experience conducting interdisciplinary research.

To help foster collaboration among similar researchers, he became a member of the inaugural advisory committee of Data Archive for Interdisciplinary Research on Learning (DAIRL) — a new repository that provides an infrastructure for sharing and using datasets related to the dynamic processes that shape students’ learning and learning environments.

“The central goal of my education research is to figure out what are the most effective interventions to advance equity and improve outcomes for students,” Lewis said. “Figuring out the answer to that question requires learning from not only my own studies, but looking more broadly at what other researchers and practitioners from many different disciplines have done.”

Lewis is a member of Mindset Scholars Network — an organization that works at the intersection of education research, practice and policy. Mindset Scholars Network developed DAIRL in partnership with ICPSR, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, which is housed at the University of Michigan.

“DAIRL is a great opportunity to harness the wisdom of the interdisciplinary crowd of researchers who have studied how students learn so that we can both improve our knowledge and better serve students,” Lewis said.

DAIRL is designed to encourage innovative inquiry based on existing data. It contains quantitative and qualitative datasets that can be used for a wide range of scholarly activities, including pilot testing new ideas, conducting secondary research, replicating existing findings, teaching courses and mentoring students.

The archive also features user resources that help researchers maintain equity and transparency in their work and keep their projects relevant to both policy and practice. 

“One of the reasons we were excited to have Neil join the DAIRL advisory committee is his focus on meta-science — in which scholars seek to improve the processes of academic knowledge-building,” said Shanette Porter, director of research and senior fellow at Mindset Scholars Network.

Lewis’ past research has included work on open communication science, documenting the methods and practices that can facilitate transparency throughout project timelines and that can make those research processes more accessible for others. He said that DAIRL’s focus on student learning and commitment to promote openness and collaboration in research inspired him to help design the new archive.

This press release was provided by Mindset Scholars Network, in collaboration with Cornell CALS.

Header image: Neil Lewis, Jr., assistant professor of communication, works with a student in fall 2018. Photo by Allison Usavage.

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